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Borderlands in the Global South


Admission requirements

  • The course is an elective for BA South and Southeast Asian Studies

  • Students from other Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science are welcome


As spaces between nation-states, borderlands offer a unique vantage point to critically view the politics and processes of nation making and imperial geographies. But borderlands are not merely peripheries, only oriented to nation-states. They are spaces of political and cultural experimentation, embedded within wider transnational and imaginative horizons. This course will take you on a journey to borderlands in the global south, spanning South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Taking an anthropological and historical perspective, it will focus on life in and across borderlands through themes such as mobility and statis, incarceration and freedom, policing and civil-military interactions, politics and poetics. We will thus turn away from top-down statist approaches to understand borderlands through the lives and affective repertoires of borderland dwellers. The course is an invitation to think comparatively about shared experiences of negotiating but also transcending post/colonial cartographies.
Methodologically, the course will include ethnography, literature and poetry, and audio-visual resources.

Course objectives

In this students will do or learn:

  • To think critically about area studies through a comparative perspective between South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East

  • To revisit the post/colonial from the vantage point of borderlands

  • To develop critical thinking, analytical, writing and presentation skills

  • To read, listen, and see across disciplinary boundaries
    The class will be run like a seminar combining lectures, presentations, and collective discussions.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method


There will be no exam for this course. The final mark will be based on:

  • Webpostings (each approx. 300 words) to be submitted in the course of the semester (20%)

  • Presentation and participation in class (20%)

  • One film review (10%)

  • Final essay (50%)


See above.


Resits will be allowed only for the final essay if the overall grade (based on a weighted average) is less that 5.5 (=6).

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

To be announced at the start of the semester. No prior preparation required.


This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.